TWENTY people have bravely told how their faith helped to transform their lives as part of an exhibition.

St Swithun's Church in Bournemouth hosted Transformed Lives for three days last week featuring the portraits and stories of volunteers associated with the church.

Event organiser Beryl Bye said the exhibition featured 20 individuals, captured by a photographer matched to them, alongside a small extract of their life.

Within it they explained how their life had been made better in some way through family, love, faith and kindness.

Ms Bye said: "We tried to match the photographer with the person. They heard their story before the photo so they knew what to capture. Then we decided which picture represented that person most."

Each of those photographed came from churches across the county.

"I love portrait exhibitions and I love people's stories and I think they really share something of themselves," Ms Bye added. "I would love this exhibition not just to be in churches but in public spaces everywhere. Because some people talk about sharing their faith but that's just the belief system. But everyone has a story. Everyone argues about faith but you can't argue about stories and I think we should learn to share our stories."

Sarah Woodgate was at the exhibition looking at the portrait of her son, Mark. He'd been through some difficult times with substance misuse.

Speaking of Mark's statement, she said: "It's a mere fraction of what we've been through. I'm glad he [did the photo shoot] because if it helps someone else that's great.

"To see him now; someone who really helps people. It couldn't be more different now to how it was before."

Daisie Tranah, a 21-year-old Bournemouth University student, said: "People didn't realise who I was before. But now they have seen that and they have seen what I have come from. But I'm still a normal person.

"The church has really cared. We have mentors and counselling sessions; it's been great."

Rev Tim Matthews said: "We have met some amazing people; people who have experienced profound change.

"As they told us their stories, we found ourselves encouraged and inspired to keep working for transformation and restoration in our broken world. We hope that as you look in to their eyes and consider their story, you'll experience new hope and energy too."